Turkish man with Cerebral Palsy heads to study in US thanks to mother’s efforts
Vahap Munyar – ISTANBULA Turkish man with Cerebral Palsy will head to the United States to study, with the help of his mother’s encouragement and efforts.
Murat Can Çiçek won a scholarship from Google and will move to California with his mother, Nilgün Çiçek, 55.
Çiçek supported her son at all stages of his education and moved into a dormitory when her son was admitted to Istanbul’s Özyeğin University’s computer engineering department with a full scholarship.
After graduating, Murat Can Çiçek gained a scholarship from Google and is now readying to move to the U.S. in September to pursue his doctorate on artificial intelligence in University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC).
In order to help his son in California, Nilgün Çiçek started to learn English and how to drive to be able to take her son to school.
Speaking about Çiçek’s extraordinary efforts for her son, Fiba Holding Chair and Özyeğin University’s Board of Trustees Chairman Hüsnü Özyeğin said he sees Çiçek as the “mother of the year.”
He also offered to shoot a short movie on Murat Can Çiçek in order to set an example for all people with disabilities, and that the movie would be prepared in coordination with Young Guru Academy founder Sinan Yaman and his team.
In the movie, Murat Can Çiçek stressed that “he is not the actual hero of the story.”
“You’ll say ‘Wow, he made it on his own.’ I’m not the hero of this story. The true hero is my mother,” he said, adding that he couldn’t get out of bed until he was six years old.
“My ability to move was very limited. It still is. I can only move my head. I have a hard time using my hands and speaking. We were turned down from the schools we went to. My mother taught me how to read and basic mathematics. Then I was enrolled to school at third grade,” he said.
Saying that all he was able to do was use computers due to his disabilities, Çiçek noted that he studied a four-year science curriculum in the span of two years in order to gain full scholarship in computer engineering.
Özyeğin offered Çiçek to return to Turkey after finishing his studies in the U.S. and become an academic at his Turkish alma mater. Çiçek then asked if he can’t be an entrepreneur, to which Özyeğin replied that he should consider taking significant opportunities that may come to him in California.
“I would like to return and be useful for my country,” Çiçek said.
He said there were people who likened him to British physicist Stephen Hawking.
“I am very different from Hawking. I have had disabilities from birth, but he became disabled later in life. Hawking is not my role model,” he added.
Saying that he lost his father at the age of nine, Çiçek noted that he did not have any role models.